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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Feb. 10, 2006

P&S Council

Council seeks release time funding for president

by Anne Krapfl

The Professional and Scientific Council will ask university leaders for $15,000 annually to cover release time for the council president from some of his or her department/unit responsibilities. Council members approved the proposal at their Feb. 2 meeting.

The funding request is intended to renew interest in the council president's position. In recent years, there have been few to no voluntary candidates for the post. A significant reason, according to council members who have tried to recruit them, is the time commitment required of the council president and departments' reluctance to absorb the loss in time and productivity.

According to time-on-the-job records kept by four recent council presidents, time spent on council-related activities varied between 15 percent and 40 percent per week, depending on the week. On advice from the provost's office, the council requested a dollar figure, rather than a fraction of the incumbent's salary.

The Faculty Senate president receives half-time release from his or her teaching duties and the senate's president-elect receives a quarter-time release.

The motion doesn't specify how the $15,000 would be used each year, but asks that those details be left to the council president and his or her department to negotiate, based on the circumstances and needs.

Early retirement ideas

The council's compensation and benefits committee also shared an early proposal for an early retirement incentive program at Iowa State that is a scaled-down version of the former plan.

The university's most recent early retirement program ended on June 30, 2002. (Eligible employees on that date had until June 30, 2004, to request early retirement.)

Early retirement incentive programs create an option for employees who are interested in retiring but financially can't afford to do so. The benefits to the university include, among others, opportunities for promotions, reallocations and new entry-level positions at reduced salary and benefits costs; a chance to revitalize the workplace with new ideas from new employees; and an alternative to involuntary layoffs during tight budget times.

In June 2004, the committee released a report on early retirement programs for professional staff at Iowa State's Peer 11 universities. Seven of the other 10 offer early retirement incentives and two more schools offer retirement annuities or paid health/dental benefits in retirement.

As proposed by the P&S committee, faculty, administrators, P&S staff and regents office staff who are at least 59 1/2 years old with at least 15 years of service would be eligible. Proposed incentives include (employer's share) paid health and dental insurance up to Medicare eligibility, dollar credit for unused sick leave to help pay employee's share of premiums and TIAA-CREF contributions for up to three years.

According to data from the Office of Institutional Research, 13 percent of faculty and P&S staff are 60 years old or older. An estimated 221 faculty and 111 P&S staff would be eligible to participate in the program, as proposed.

The council will discuss the proposal at its March 2 meeting.

Support dining employees

In other business, the council unanimously passed a motion in support of employees in campus food service positions. A campus committee currently is evaluating four proposals to operate Iowa State's food services. One is from ISU Dining; the others are from private companies. The council recommends that "all current and future employee positions carry Iowa State University employment status, regardless of the organization chosen to manage [food services]."


A funding request to cover release time for the P&S Council's president from his or her department is intended to renew interest in the position. In recent years, there have been few to no voluntary candidates for the post.